When it comes to one of the most exciting nights for a student in high school, senior prom is the one most everyone looks forward to. It is a night that signals the end of a long and winding road to graduation, as well as a time to kick back with friends and dance the night away. Plus, you can’t forget the snazzy tuxedos, gorgeous dresses, and stretch limos. Overall, it’s an event most high school students will never forget.
For Jackson, prom night was going to be a defining moment for him. A loner and somewhat socially awkward young man, he never expected his friends in band class to invite him to go with them. To say he was excited would be an understatement. Unfortunately, that joy would soon shift to disappointment when Jackson realized he had been the butt of a horrible trick.
However, unknown to his fake friends, he would soon have the upper hand.
A Night to Remember (for all the Wrong Reasons)
Jackson Loop couldn’t believe that prom was just hours away. Excited, nervous and ready for a great time, he hoped it would be all he dreamed it would. A member of the high school band, Jackson had been shocked that his fellow bandmates had asked if he would join them for the festivities. Sadly, their so-called “friendship” would prove to be sham, and Jackson would have to learn a very valuable life lesson, even if it happened to cause him pain.
Giddy with Excitement
With the night of prom quickly approaching, Jackson didn’t know what to do with himself. Equipped with a custom-tailored suit, anticipation and too many nerves, his mother, Sheila had never seen him so excited. For once, he felt like he belonged after sitting on the sidelines for so long.
Dreaming of the Night
The months leading up to prom had been filled with new clothes, shoes and plenty of organizing. For Jackson, it was his first prom ever and he wanted it to be perfect. That morning, he woke tingling with anticipation and dreaming of what his first prom would be like. Would he have someone to dance with? What music would be played? It was all just too exciting to handle.
The Band is MIA
As a member of the high school band, Jackson always had a gift for music. His bandmates had told him they would call that afternoon so they could meet up for pre-prom pictures. However, as the afternoon approached, Jackson had yet to receive a single text. Is it possible his friends were running behind schedule?
Waiting for a Response
As afternoon turned to night, Jackson soon found himself panicked and hurt. Could his so-called friends really be dumping him on prom night? “He waited, and he waited, and he waited,” his mom Sheila said, “No one responded to his texts or picked up his calls. His younger brother and sister and I watched him as he started to realize that he was being ditched.”
The Pain of Being Ditched
With the night wearing on, it became crystal clear—Jackson had been stood up by his bandmates, and the pain was almost too much to bear for his mother. “I have to tell you that in my 18 yrs. of parenting I have never felt so much pain. It was mixed with an indescribable amount of rage. This was… painful. Then, after he changed out of his suit, he saw all of their pre-prom pictures on Facebook, and he all but collapsed in the kitchen.”
Not Completely Surprised
Despite being devastated over the turn of events, Jackson told his mom he wasn’t surprised. He always felt like the third wheel when it came to hanging out with his friends. Tonight, only confirmed he was “an invisible, throwaway loser.”
Struggling to Fit In
According to his mother, Jackson had always struggled to fit in with his peers. “He’s always been on the fringe and really wanted to be part of a group.” said Sheila, “It wasn’t until high school band where we thought, ‘Oh, great! There’s going to be band kids!’”
Sadly, the kids in the band were less than friendly. They would mock him mercilessly, take trips without him and just make Jackson pretty miserable overall. Despite all this, Jackson continued to try and get along with everyone, craving some sort of social life, even if it was at his own expense.
Blaming Himself for Their Bad Behavior
Sadly, Jackson blamed himself for his band members mistreatment. “I’ve been kind of blind about it,” Jackson said, adding, “I kind of showed them how to treat me.”
Making the Best of It
Jackson revealed the truth behind being in such a situation, one where he was not valued or treated with respect. “I was like, they can do whatever they want, I’m all right. I can be in the back.’ But I never really liked it. … It really hurts me when it’s almost every time that I’m just in the back, tagging along, and barely anyone is talking to me.”
A Sneaky Plan
Thankfully, despite the sadness and pain of missing prom, there was a light at the end of the tunnel. Sheila revealed that night she received a text message from Sophie, a girl in the Junior Band. She told her to sneak Jackson’s suit in the trunk of his car for that Monday. With Monday being Memorial Day, some of the kids in Junior Band had a plan.
Blowing Off Steam
Unable to cope with the pain and anger from prom night, Jackson hit the gym hard and early on Memorial Day morning. It was then he received a text message from his friend Sophie inviting him over. While this made him feel a little better, he still couldn’t get the betrayal from prom out of his mind.
The Big Surprise
Later, Jackson headed over to Sophie’s and was completely surprised when he was met at the door by all of the Junior Band members dressed in their prom clothes. The group with big smiles screamed “Happy Fake Prom!”
A Touching Moment
Sophie immediately had Jackson run to the bathroom to change into his suit. “I was flabbergasted.” he said, “I didn’t know how to respond. I’m in the bathroom changing and I kind of shed a tear a little bit.”
Junior Band to the Rescue
It was in this moment, among the Junior Band members that Jackson truly realized who is friends were. The negativity from being ditched at prom melted away and was replaced with joy and thankfulness. “This is what it means to receive a gift from friends who are doing something, particularly for me,” said Jackson
The Lame Excuses Cometh
After posting photos from the fake prom on Facebook, it soon gained a crazy amount of attention on social media. Shortly after, Jackson was flooded with texts from the Senior Band with meaningless excuses and half-hearted apologies. Thankfully, Jackson could see right through the lame reasons.
Even though being stood up at prom was extremely painful, Jackson did learn a very valuable life lesson about who is true friends are. In fact, he feels wiser thanks to the situation.
A Little Advice
“You may feel like you belong in a place and you’re in a great group of friends, but make sure that they’re taking care of you as well,” Jackson said.
Listen to Your Gut
“Listen to your gut.If you feel pissed off about something and feel like they’re not treating you well, then you’re probably right. It took me a long time to figure that out.” Jackson told the local media. “You’re going to find plenty of people that will find you interesting and will actually care about you in the end.”
Finding Better Friends
Even though prom night had been nothing like he had hoped for, Jackson felt like he ended the night with the upper hand. He discovered who is true friends were and found his self-worth. “There are 7 or 8 billion people; at the same time, we feel like we’re isolated with these few groups of people, and if they’re gone or you decide not to be friends, then you’re alone. But there are plenty of people out there.”
Well said, Jackson.